Feather & Down Analysis

feather and down test resultsAlthough allergy to feather is considered to be rare, allergic reactions can be triggered by contaminants on the feather and down including house dust mites, feather mites, avian serum proteins and mould in sensitised individuals. In addition, exposure to microbial contaminants in feather and down including mould and bacteria could potentially cause illness in susceptible people. Commercial processing of feather and down has progressed greatly to remove these contaminants. However, it is crucial to have accurate methodologies to determine the effectiveness of this processing, which is known to be highly variable across the globe.

Where allergen accumulation is concerned, the integrity of the barrier function of the ticking fabric is a key consideration.

Avian Allergen Contaminants

airmid healthgroup designed and filed an International Patent on 09-03-12 for a new method of assessing the effectiveness of a commercial treatment process on avian allergen removal from feather and down.
The method measures avian allergen levels at various stages of the feather and down treatment process in a number of filling materials used in:

  • Pillows
  • Duvets
  • Clothing
  • Soft articles

The following feather associated proteins are measured as part of the avian allergen assessment:

  • Avian IgG using a specific ELISA developed at airmid healthgroup
  • Mite Group 2 using a specific ELISA manufactured by Indoor Biotechnologies
  • Total Soluble Protein using a Pierce™ Protein Assay

Microbial Contaminants


The level of microbiological contamination in a sample is obtained using the Total Viable Count method. Sample dilutions are applied to agar plates and following incubation, total viable counts (TVC) are estimated.


TVC Bacteria

  • Estimates total numbers of viable (living) bacteria in a sample
  • Total viable counts are reported in cfu/g*

TVC Fungi

  • Estimates total numbers of viable (living) fungi in a sample
  • Total viable counts are reported in cfu/g*

*cfu/g* = no. of colony forming units per gram of sample.

For more information on the new method for assessing feather and down serum protein contamination, please contact us on the link below.

Useful information

Airmid Sector Air 001

Feather & Down Informational PDF

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